Quick Tip: Submit Letters As Evidence During Your Disability Hearing

Young female is writing notes and planning her schedule.

If you have made it to the hearing stage of the disability application process, you should highly consider submitting letters written by friends, family, caretakers or former employers to the judge who will be hearing your case.

The letter should include information about your disability and how it limits your day-to-day activities. Therefore, you should be very selective about who you ask to write a letter in support of your case for benefits.

The person you ask to write a letter should have very intimate knowledge of your condition, and a high understanding of how your disability affects your ability to take care of yourself and work a full-time job. Therefore, it is advisable to ask a caretaker or former employer/co-worker to write the letter.

A caretaker (or family member, if that is who primarily helps you out) should include information about your limitations when it comes to taking care of yourself, such as clothing, bathing, cooking, shopping, housework, paying bills and any other activities you have trouble doing independently. They should also detail how they help you perform each activity, and any other responsibilities they have as it relates to your care.

A former employer or co-worker should discuss how your condition limited your ability to do your job. For example, if you were frequently absent, required additional time to complete tasks or had trouble doing certain assignments, they should definitely mention that in their letter, as it can give the administrative law judge a better understanding of why you are unable to work.

Because administrative law judges have such high caseloads and a limited amount of time, your letter should focus more on quality than quantity. Ask the people writing them to try and keep it to one page or less. They should also consider getting the letter notarized to show it is authentic.

You disability attorney will probably want to review these letters before you submit them to ensure everything is accurate – this is completely normal. They want just want to make sure you are not submitting incorrect information that could have the potential to hurt your case down the line.

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